Here’s One Way to Insure Your Retirement
An insured retirement is one that guarantees you income and protection during your golden years.
But how do you achieve that?
The U.S. is facing a potential retirement crisis as 79 million baby boomers enter or near retirement; in the future, this number is likely to increase.
Retirement is expensive
At the same time, retirement is becoming more expensive due to an increase in life expectancy as well as inflation and rising health care costs.
A number of insured retirement solutions exist to help: annuities, long-term care insurance, reverse mortgages, and of course, life insurance. These solutions can help ensure guaranteed lifetime income and protect your wealth during your retirement.
Life insurance has important benefits
Often investors will focus on the first three of these insured retirement solutions, but life insurance can also play an important role in a retirement portfolio.
It can provide a stream of income for a family to live on for a period of time. That stream of income can pay off debts and loans, providing surviving family members with the chance to move on comfortably. It can keep families in their homes. It can even fund a child’s college education or keep a family business in the family.
But there’s one catch: You need to own life insurance to obtain these benefits. According to the industry research group LIMRA, too many Americans do not have adequate life insurance protection. In fact, 30% of U.S. households have no life insurance at all.
Life insurance isn’t right for everyone, of course, but that’s why it’s a good idea to consult an expert before jumping into it.
Your advisor can help you decide whether life insurance is an appropriate investment for you based on your individual financial circumstances and goals and, if it is, help you choose whom to purchase from and how much to purchase.
Capturing Daily Life in 2,000 Images
Usually when it comes to cameras, the photographer is the one controlling what is photographed and when. Not the case with a recent invention by a former Microsoft employee.
The Autographer camera is the world’s first wearable smart camera. It’s hands-free and uses sensors informed by algorithms to determine the right moments to take photos. It can capture the wearer’s day in 2,000 unique images, which can then be replayed in about five minutes.
The camera’s predecessor – the SenseCam – was developed for use in the medical field, mainly for people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease as a way of showing their physicians the progress of their daily lives.
For people such as law enforcement workers and parking officers, the Autographer’s images could settle disputes in which one person’s memory is pitted against another’s.
But most important for the rest of us, the Autographer could be a lot of fun in everyday life, capturing photos of our world without our even noticing.
Are You Lying? Researchers Say the Nose Knows
We’ve heard about the “telltale” signs of lying: eyes darting to the left, sweaty palms, no eye contact, the ever-lengthening nose belonging to storybook character Pinocchio.
But is there some scientific way to find out when someone is lying?
According to researchers at the University of Granada in Spain, there is.
The scientists combined psychology and thermography to discover that when people lie they experience a slight increase in temperature in the area around the nose and near the orbital muscle located at the corner of the eye.
This may be hard to test without sophisticated instruments, so experts who use lie-detecting techniques in their jobs offer some simpler tips on how to spot the frequent fibber:
- Assess their tone. If someone’s tone changes from the way they normally speak (for example, their pitch rises), it could be a sign that they’re lying.
- Watch to see if the subject avoids the word “I.” When people lie about themselves, they tend to use the words “I” and “me” less frequently. This helps keep them at a psychological distance from the lie.
- Is the individual quick with an answer? When someone responds with no hesitation, the answer may have been rehearsed and the person lying.
- Is the person fidgeting? Random physical actions could mean someone is lying, especially when the lie is directed toward someone he or she loves.
Wellness Counters Lifestyle-Related Illnesses
Fact: More than 30% of American adults are now obese. By 2030, unless something changes, this will rise to almost 45%.
Fact: Right now obesity is responsible for more than 25% of health care costs in America.
Fact: Approximately 58.5 million U.S. adults now smoke and are at increased risk of developing any of 30 different diseases.
Fact: Smoking-related deaths total 424,000 annually, and more than $172 billion has been spent on healthcare costs related to smoking.
No wonder more and more employers are establishing employee wellness programs and preventive care is incorporated into the mandate of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA).
The assumption is that an emphasis on wellness is likely the only way to stop the epidemic of lifestyle-related illnesses that are killing us. According to an October 2012 article in U.S. News, wellness is going mainstream.
“How Healthcare Is Changing – For the Better” makes the point that both the health insurance industry and Medicare now are “paying doctors and hospitals based on how successfully they treat patients and keep them out of the hospital.”
Already there are community health teams in Vermont that are transforming healthcare delivery, initiatives such as the Cleveland Clinic’s Heart Care at Home program, and hospitals that are focused on educating and listening to patients.
Medicare also has imposed financial penalties on hospitals when some patients are readmitted within 30 days, hoping to reverse trends like those of heart failure patients, one in four of whom is readmitted within 30 days of discharge.
You may find that your healthcare providers are faster in responding to your inquiries, and someday you may even have a personal health coach to keep you on the path to wellness.
It’s all part of a wellness revolution, which, if it succeeds, may make obesity and smoking deaths things of the past.
Should You Consider a Switch to Medicare Advantage?
Most of us over 65 are familiar with Parts A and B of Medicare, but how much do you know about Medicare C, also called Medicare Advantage?
Medicare C plans are regulated by the government and run by private insurers. They offer coverage comparable to Medicare A (hospitalization) and B (doctors’ bills, medical tests and some screening procedures) and may include prescription drug coverage.
There are a number of Medicare C plans available, with differing premiums, copays and out-of-pocket limits. Some cost about the same as standard Medicare, while other plans have higher premiums.
But does a Medicare C plan make sense for you? It depends on your individual circumstances.
Here are some factors you may want to consider:
- If you have standard Medicare, you don’t have a cap on out-of-pocket expenses. If these are mounting up, Medicare Advantage plans have a maximum cap of $6,700 a year, and many are much lower.
- If your prescription costs are high but you don’t want to pay extra for the optional prescription coverage under standard Medicare, most Medicare C plans include this coverage. But consider this carefully: You may not be able to justify a higher-premium C plan just to obtain drug coverage.
- Nursing home care and dental and vision care (not covered by standard Medicare) are covered by some Medicare C plans.
- You have a better selection of providers with standard Medicare; Medicare C is not as widely accepted.